Daily Israel Report

Situation Safe Enough to End Gas Mask Distribution, Govt. Says

No more gas masks will be handed out to Israelis at this time. Decision is linked to chemical weapon destruction in Syria.
By David Shamah
First Publish: 1/19/2014, 7:44 PM

Man tries on gas mask (illustrative)
Man tries on gas mask (illustrative)
Flash 90

No more gas masks will be handed out to Israelis, the “inner” defense cabinet decided Sunday. The last gas masks in stock will be given out through the end of January, the cabinet decided. Only rescue workers and other essential personnel will receive masks after that time.

The reason for the end of the gas mask distribution program, which has been going on for over a decade, is the relatively low chance of a chemical attack on Israel at this time. While masks and the kits that go along with them, which include various items to ensure proper breathing during a chemical attack, are not necessary at this time, the government reserves the right to change that decision in accordance with changing defense and political circumstances, the cabinet said.

Commenting on the decision, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that “the decision to stop giving out mask kits is an intelligent one that was made after much deliberation. It takes into account the changes in the threat level of the Middle East and the strength and capabilities of the State of Israel. Given the process going on in Syria today and the removal of the chemical weapon threat from there, there has been a dramatic drop in the chance of an attack of this type.

“Israeli citizens can rest assured that the IDF will continue to operate in all places, nearby and far away, and defend the country with determination, in a responsible and intelligent manner,” he added.